The luxury holiday rental market continues to spiral ever more upmarket – we’re talking five-star standards (maybe six-star?), 24/7 concierges and potentially stratospheric costs.
Rental behemoth Airbnb is far from the first to chase this market, recently tapping into the ongoing boom with Airbnb Luxe.
Its worldwide options offer a rigorously selected range of extraordinary homes from city penthouses to French chateaux. Residences must be “entirely unique and appropriate to their destination” and meet a 300-plus criteria checklist.
An Airbnb trip designer will help you choose just the right property. Once they understand “your vision”, they can also help to plan “a magical travel experience”.
Whether you’ve got the cash to splash, or you’d just like to see how the other half vacations, there are some amazing places to while away a holiday.
One of the hero properties in the Luxe launch is the ultra-modern Lodge at the Hills, in Arrowtown, in southern New Zealand. At about $33,000 a night, it’s not for those seeking a low-cost getaway.
On the other hand it does sleep 10, offers a fully staffed compound, infinity pool, heli-landing pad, private three-par golf hole and sprawls across 20 hectares. Not to mention the genuinely breathtaking scenery and easy ski-field access.
Lodge at the Hills is also available though Kiwi luxury rental agency Touch of Spice, which has established itself with some of New Zealand’s most fabulous properties, as well as listings in Australia and the South Pacific.
Te Kahu, a cedar-clad architectural statement home, secluded and serene, near Wanaka, is another of its stunning New Zealand luxury stays. It has an art collection, designer furniture and five-star everything – and from a mere $3770 a night.
All the little extras
Touch of Spice has set benchmarks for service too, because these rentals are about more than just the property. It’s the highly personalised, your-wish-is-our command service that goes with these prices. Helicopter from airport to property? Live-in chef? Turndown service? Bespoke adventure or cultural itinerary? Your personal concierge can and will arrange virtually anything.
Alexandra Omerod, co-founder and chief executive of Luxico, another luxury rental agency, says it’s also about time.
“The biggest luxury in life is time, and by us handling all the finer details for them, they can spend their time enjoying their stay.”
Luxico bills itself as the ‘Home Hotel”, offering unique homes fitted out with high-end amenities and a personal concierge on call 24/7. People want service.
Onefinestay is another upmarket agency with a curated selection of the finest homes and villas around the globe – some are truly breathtaking – and “unprecedented service”.
Who books these luxury stays?
It’s not all sports stars, billionaire tech nerds and VIPs travelling with an entourage.
“We’re noticing a huge growth in multigenerational travel and groups of friends and families booking private villas for get-togethers and celebrations, rather than hotels,” Touch of Spice managing director Jacqui Spice says.
If you’re planning a luxe getaway, or a just a little armchair travel, here are a few suggestions. Dream away.
This swanky four-bedroom townhouse in New York’s arty West Village, available through Onefinestay, offers “plenty of bohemian touches”. It also has designer fittings, a fireplace, grand piano and a terrace.
Cost: From about $3500 a night
Stunning, three-level, four-bedroom home with brilliant views of Mosman’s Balmoral Beach from the first-floor deck. Pool, steam room, gym, bikes, scooters and even a kayak are on hand for holiday heaven.
Cost: From $6100 a night
Panoramic views of one of the world’s most famous beaches, as well as a spacious terrace for sunset viewing, four luxurious bedrooms, serene styling and Buddha statues for a little added Zen.
Cost: From $3988 a night
This fabulous six-bedroom villa on Natai Beach is about an hour from Phuket – and a world away, as they say. Contemporary oriental design with two-storey pavilions overlooking pristine infinity pools and garden. A manager, housekeeper, private chef and gardener cater to your needs.
Cost: From $1850 a night
Mid-century modern design, leather settees, fur throws, plus chandeliers, artworks, a wraparound balcony and views of Sydney fabulous harbour. And all just minutes from the Opera House and Botanic Gardens.
Cost: From $1200 a night
A two-bedroom villa in a secluded coastal retreat, far from Bali’s madding crowd. Walled garden, open-air pavilions, four-poster beds and a dreamy tropical pool.
Cost: From $550 a night